GMPA

Mental Health & UC

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Investigating Claimant Experiences
By Joe Pardoe, PhD Student at the University of Salford

Research has shown that recent changes to the benefits system, especially the roll-out of Universal Credit, have profoundly impacted the UK’s poorest communities. This has been found to partly account for the massive increase in national rates of poverty, particularly child poverty. The link between poverty and health has long been established; a region with a high rate of poverty tends to correspond with a lower standard of general health and mental health.

My study is interested in how people who live within an area with a relatively high rate of poverty, such as Greater Manchester, may experience changes to their mental health throughout their engagement with the benefits system and receipt of Universal Credit. Claimants who are vulnerable to mental health related issues and mental health conditions, such as those who receive additional disability benefits like PIP, often see their need for support intensified throughout the process of engagement with the benefits system. What is less well known is, how those without pre-existing mental health conditions may experience changes to their mental health throughout the process of claiming.

Prior research has identified various aspects of claiming that may impact upon mental health, such as being subject to the Work Capability Assessment and having to deal with the rigors of meeting conditionality measures to avoid being sanctioned. However, while I am interested to talk about these kinds of issues, I am particularly keen to allow individuals themselves to identify what aspects of claiming Universal Credit may have affected changes to their mental health.

I aim to interview 30 people who have reported changes to their mental health throughout the process of claiming; this may include those with pre-existing mental health conditions, or those who have mentioned experiencing mental health related issues since starting to claim. I am interested to hear from anybody who lives within Greater Manchester and is open to discuss this topic by drawing upon their personal experiences.

The study will explore perceived changes to mental health at various stages of claiming Universal Credit, with a specific focus on:

•  The financial impact

•  What aspects of claiming Universal Credit may be seen as helping, or being unhelpful, to sustaining a
good standard of mental health

•  Possible issues around meeting conditionality measures, including in-work

•  How people claiming Universal Credit may feel they are seen by others; both their friends and family, and
by wider society

Joe Pardoe PhD student article for GM Poverty Action

Joe Pardoe

In order to support this study, I would be very grateful to hear from anybody whose job involves providing some kind of support to people who receive Universal Credit and have experienced changes to their mental health and may be open to being interviewed to discuss their experiences. If you are able to support my research or would like to find out more, please contact me via email

 

Joe is studying for his PhD within the School of Health and Society at the University of Salford , he is associated with the Sustainable Housing and Urban Studies Unit and supporting the Salford Anti-Poverty Task Force. He gained a 1st Class honours degree in Psychology at the University of Bradford.

 

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The poverty issue 23

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These are just snippets – there’s much more going on and the full articles are available here

Motiv8 is a GM programme to help unemployed people aged 25 and over, supporting some of the most disadvantaged and vulnerable people overcome a wide variety of complex issues and barriers to improve their lives and chances of getting back into work. New Charter Homes is leading the Motiv8 programme with support from other Manchester Athena housing providers at Stockport Homes, ForViva, Wythenshawe Community Housing Group and Bolton at Home.

Bolton at Home have two projects under Ambition for Ageing: Working Potential is aimed at carers aged 50+ who want to explore employment or training opportunities and their Social Eating project aims to reduce social isolation by bringing people together using food. Withins Action Group, known as WAG, aim to improve their local area and create opportunities for the local residents and one of the outcomes has been a Community Café with a ‘Snack and Chat’ drop in session.

After asking children to describe what home meant to them First Choice Homes Oldham discovered that it was all about a feeling. Since then they have worked with young people in the Clarksfield and Greenacres neighbourhoods focussing on the concept of place and identity. The project aimed to address their sense of safety and security when using public spaces and to look at how their own behaviour in these places could make other people feel.

ForViva, working in partnership with Salford Council Integrated Youth Services & Fighting Fit Kids ran a pilot programme aimed at helping young women aged between 11 and 16 to raise their aspirations, specifically aiming to develop a greater sense of emotional and physical wellbeing whilst gaining self confidence and self-esteem. Sessions included self-defence, body image, relationships with food including nutrition and cooking, the impact of social media, mental wellbeing, internet safety, relationships and domestic abuse.

Not everyone has the knowledge, or the provisions to make their house energy efficient. One Manchester’s Asset
Management and One Money teams partnered with LEAP to offer residents free energy and money saving services through a series of road shows. This allowed them to help people to understand switching their energy provider, smart meters and how to get the most out of their heating system. By the end of January 2019, they had actively engaged with 116 people.

Regenda Homes’ Oasis Community Kitchen Project is where volunteers create meals for the community using food collected from supermarkets that would otherwise be wasted. Planning and preparing meals and activities for half term, saw over 100 families attending up to 4 times a week for activities, films and food. Meals are prepared and served by the volunteers in a family dining experience. Media such as phones and iPads were banned during the meals to encourage conversation.

More than £90,000 has been ploughed into community projects and good causes in Salford during the past year thanks to Salix Homes Springboard fund. The community grant programme enables Salford-based organisations or initiatives to bid for funding to help support projects that boost community spirit, improve the environment, reduce isolation and promote health and wellbeing. During the past 12 months, recipients have included dance troupes, grassroots football teams, bowlers, computer clubs and community gardening projects.

Six Town Housing’s Chesham Fold Tenant and Residents Association’s Baby Bank is providing parents in poverty with
equipment including cots, pushchairs, toys and baby baths as well as disposable items such as nappies and baby shampoo. Clothes are also available for children up to the age of five. Items are provided on a referral basis, with partnerships set up with local midwives and health workers. The Association also run a weekly youth club for children aged 5 to 16, a foodbank and the ‘Friends of Gypsy Brook’.

Continuing to promote South Manchester Credit Union, Southway Housing Trust deliver an affordable loan scheme ‘Southway Solutions’, now in its 5th year with over 900 tenants having borrowed.  Southway also launched ‘Right Track UC’ loans in January issuing its first loan to reduce the hardship suffered by those having to wait for their first Universal Credit payment. The loan is available to those who haven’t had an advanced payment from DWP and are being supported by Southway’s Advice Services Team.

Every year, Stockport Homes’ Winter Welfare visits to around 500 older and more vulnerable customers enables staff to provide advice and assistance on keeping warm, eating well, checking vaccinations are up to date and making referrals for equipment and adaptations. They are also working in partnership with Stockport Council, Good Things Foundation and local partners as part of the #digiknow network, to create a web of digital skills support centres, making it easier for residents to find help in their local community.

A Christmas food appeal co-ordinated by Wythenshawe Community Housing Group with an army of volunteers to make sure that the most vulnerable people in the community had enough food for Christmas, provided 144 hampers with enough food to feed 425 people, including 243 children. Also following the roll out of Universal Credit, they have been supporting vulnerable and digitally excluded people who require face to face help with their on-line application.

 

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Campaign for Better Transport

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By Darren Shirley, Chief Executive of Campaign for Better Transport

Imagine not having any transport. No car, no affordable train service and no buses. How do you get to work, or to college or to medical appointments? For many people on low incomes this is all too common a reality.

According to the Office of National Statistics, households spend an average of £79.70 a week on transport, making transport the biggest household expense. For people on low incomes, the cost of transport is just one more expense that must be at best juggled, or at worst sacrificed. Whilst there is no official definition of transport poverty, or any agreed figures on the number of people affected, it is a problem more and more people and organisations are being to recognise.

Transport poverty is not simply a question of being able to own a car, combinations of poor transport provision, high fares and car-based housing and other developments, all contribute to creating social isolation and poverty. Nor is this just an issue for those without cars; those with access to cars find that they are forced to use their cars more than they want to, or more than they can afford to.

Lack of transport options impacts on people’s health and wellbeing, as well as their education and employment opportunities. A recent Joseph Rowntree Foundation report looked at the transport issues facing out-of-work residents in six low-income neighbourhoods, including Harpurhey in Manchester. It found that ‘transport is a significant barrier to employment for many residents living in low-income neighbourhoods’ and ‘public transport is often seen as something which constrains, rather than enables a return to work’.

Last year we published our seventh annual Buses in Crisis report. It showed local authority supported services are at crisis point, with £172 million cut from bus budgets in England since 2010/11. Local authority bus spend in the North West region dropped more than a fifth (21.54 %) in eight years, with 77 bus services altered, reduced or withdrawn in the last year alone. The loss of a bus service can have a devastating impact on both individuals and whole communities, especially those on low incomes who are already disadvantaged.

Buses connect people to jobs, health services, education establishments and shopping and leisure facilities, not to mention enabling people to visit friends and family. When a bus service disappears, so does a person’s and a community’s only link to the outside world.

That’s why Campaign for Better Transport wants to see a national investment strategy for buses, like already exists for rail and roads, to ensure buses remain part of the public transport mix.

We also need to make sure public transport remains affordable. Bus fares are rising far higher than that of any other public transport mode, and far higher than the cost of car ownership. Even rail fares, which are rising less than bus fares but still higher than the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which is the official inflation figure used to calculate things like benefit increases, are an increasing unmanageable burden on people’s pockets.

Darren Shirley, CEO Campaign for Better Transport

Darren Shirley, Chief Executive of Campaign for Better Transport

One way the Government could help is to introduce a season ticket for part-time workers. Currently a season ticket offers a discount if used to travel for five days a week. If you work part time, or on a zero hours contract, or work part of the week from home because you have caring responsibilities, you must either choose to buy a season ticket and lose money on the days you don’t travel, or buy more expensive individual single or return tickets. We want to see more flexible ticket options which reflect modern working practices and don’t disadvantage people commuting less than five days a week.

Even people who do need to commute five days a week can find the cost of an annual season ticket too much to pay out in one go, meaning they are unable to take advantage of the discount offered by buying your year’s travel up front. Some employers offer season ticket loans which allow people to borrow the money for their annual ticket and pay it back in smaller amounts from their wages over the course of the year.

So far these type of schemes generally only apply to rail season tickets, but we’d like to see this extended to cover bus tickets as well. Low income families are more dependent than others on bus travel and the cheaper fare deals which involve paying larger lump sums are often unavailable to them.

Transport poverty, like other forms of poverty, does not just impact on the individual or their immediate family; it has far reaching consequences that affect whole communities, even whole regions of the country. Ultimately there is also
a national economic impact which should, if nothing else, spur the Government on to tackle the issue.

 

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Real Change Rochdale

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New campaign to tackle homelessness launches in Rochdale Borough
by the Sanctuary Trust

Earlier this month, Sanctuary Trust launched a new campaign in Rochdale giving people the chance to donate towards a fund which buys practical items for people who are homeless – things like a deposit for a home, enrolment on a training course or new clothes for a job interview.

The campaign involves many local partners who will access the fund, and the Sanctuary Trust’s Pass It On scheme are proud to be leading it. Pass It On provides training and development opportunities for people who’ve experienced homelessness or related issues, so they know first-hand what it takes to make that ‘real change’ to our lives. With Real Change Rochdale, they are now providing the things to help others do the same.

Real change Rochdale for GM Poverty Action
Real Change is an ‘alternative giving’ model, offering members of the public who are worried about homelessness a way to give other than in the streets. By doing so their money can go further by joining with other people’s donations to buy bigger items, as well as the long-term support provided by charities and voluntary groups. That’s what has been seen from the campaign in Wigan & Leigh which started last year, as well as the long-running Big Change MCR initiative.

The aim of the fund is to help overcome the poverty gap which GMPA has persuasively demonstrated. Too often, the hard work that people who are homeless (and those supporting them) put in to change their lives falls flat for want of a small amount of money. This flexible funding pot gets this to them as quickly as possible so that no one needs be homeless or beg in the streets.

To provide these grants they need to fundraise, though! They had raised nearly £1500 before they even launched – with the help of partners such as Rochdale Sixth Form College who won our ‘Real Change Champions’ trophy for their efforts – but they will need more than that to keep going. Over the coming weeks they will be out talking to local people, businesses, faith groups, community groups and more, and if you would like to help you can:

•  Donate through the BigGive

•  Share the Campaign on your social media pages

•  Invite Real Change to your workplace, event or community group

•  Do your own fundraising for Real Change

More info is on their website. Individually, everyone can all do a bit, and together we can make a Real Change!

John Wigley, Brian Duffy, Mike O’Day & Tony McManus (Real Change Co-Chairs, Sanctuary Trust Pass It On scheme)

 

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Feeding the city

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Feeding the City: Greater Manchester

Saturday January 19th, 2019

The Food Poverty Action Plan for Greater Manchester will propose many actions for businesses seeking to benefit and improve access to good food in their local communities,so it is great timing to be able to share this opportunity.

Impact Hub are putting on a free workshop to help you develop ideas for sustainable food businesses to benefit your local community. Funding, training and advice will be available for new businesses through the Feeding the City program, and this workshop will help you to develop your ideas, ready to apply for this funding – please note that the deadline for funding applications following the workshop is Sunday January 27th, 2019.

When: 1:30pm – 5pm, Saturday January 19th 2019

Where:
 Bridge 5 Mill, 22A Beswick Street, Manchester, M4 7HR

How to book: Places are limited, so please book for free using this link

Our city region is growing and we’re struggling to feed ourselves sustainably. We want to support you to make change! What food problems would you like to solve for your community?

Do you play with the idea of starting a social business, or already have an idea in mind?

Feeding the City is a fully funded 12 month programme that will support sustainable food start-ups across all of the UK. Successful applicants will receive bursaries, and have access to business and food expert advice and training throughout 2019. At this Idea-Generating Workshop you will be supported to develop an idea for your own social business, get to know others working in similar areas and have a chance to learn more about Feeding the City. Using concrete tools, you will be helped to think through important elements of your idea in a structured way and to identify blind spots. Furthermore, you will receive valuable feedback and also learn which criteria are important in the funding application. Even those who have no concrete or only a vague idea are welcome.

Please note, any queries about the Feeding the City program should be directed to Impact Hub, while you can find out more about the Greater Manchester workshop through the booking form.

 

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IKEA – Introducing the Living Wage

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IKEA – Introducing the Living Wage is an investment we are incredibly proud of
By Katarina Verdon Olsson, Store Manager at IKEA Manchester (Ashton-Under-Lyne)

Since IKEA became the largest accredited Real Living Wage employer in retail  in 2016, the Greater Manchester Living Wage Campaign has worked with the local store in Ashton-Under-Lyne to promote their good work, and to encourage other employers to follow in their footsteps. Here the local store manager Katarina Verdon Olsson writes about the benefits to co-workers and the business as a whole.

As a values-driven organisation, we believe in providing a meaningful wage to our co-workers that supports the cost of living and this is why we were the first large retail employer to commit to paying the Living Wage and becoming an accredited member of the Living Wage Foundation.

On 1 April 2016, IKEA UK introduced the Living Wage – as defined by the Living Wage Foundation – for all of our co-workers. Today 9,000+ co-workers of all ages across the UK benefit from earning above the statutory National Living Wage. On a local level this has impacted the lives of 300+ co-workers living and working in the Greater Manchester area at the IKEA Manchester store in Ashton-Under-Lyne.

This move was part of a wider transformation of basic co-worker conditions introduced globally by IKEA to ensure that co-workers have the right level of pay, the right contract and an appropriate schedule.

Introducing the Living Wage is an investment we are incredibly proud of, particularly as our co-workers have told us about the positive benefits this has had on their lives. Below are some stories from our co-workers working at the IKEA Manchester store who have shared how the Living Wage increase has impacted them:

“My daughter loves to dance and is passionate about many different types of dance such as ballet, tap and modern. The increase in the living wage meant that we could afford more lessons and the cost involved with performances. The extra money also meant that I could take my family on weekends away more often within the UK.”
Tim (Recovery Co-worker)

“The increase in the living wage meant I could save more money for my dream wedding in Disneyland in Florida. I had also been secretly saving for a honeymoon in the Caribbean which I surprised my girlfriend with the news before we jetted off to the US for our wedding in November last year.”
Danielle (Kitchens co-worker)

Living Wage week photo for GM Poverty Action

IKEA workers front and centre at our 2016 Living Wage Week event

Implementing the Living Wage Foundation’s recommended rates of pay is not only the right thing to do by our co-workers and our values but it also makes good business sense. As we continue to grow in the UK, motivating and retaining our co-workers, as well as attracting new co-workers, becomes increasingly important. We also believe that a team with good compensation and working conditions is in a better position to provide a great experience to our customers.

Katarina Verdon Olsson IKEA article for GM Poverty Action

Katarina Verdon Olsson

As well as being good for society, we have also seen business benefits to paying the real Living Wage. At IKEA Manchester, since adopting the Living Wage in 2016 we have not only seen a decrease in staff turnover by -12%, we have also seen the improvement in the co-worker engagement survey (+3.7%) and customer experience key performance indicators.

We encourage other businesses to explore what the benefits of paying the real Living Wage would mean for their staff, business and the Greater Manchester area.

 

 


Can you become an accredited Real Living Wage Employer? It’s easier than you may think –
please fill out this form to start the process and join over 150 Greater Manchester-based employers in committing to paying your workers enough to live on.

 

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Better Buses for GM

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Our Buses in Greater Manchester aren’t working

Article written for GMPA by Pascale Robinson

Right now, bus operators can’t be forced to run any service, and they set the fares, but in the next year, we have a huge opportunity to change this wild west scenario.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham is deciding now whether to pick a better way of running the bus network, re-regulating it, which puts buses back into public control.

37% of Greater Manchester’s job seekers said that lack of access to transport is a key barrier to getting work, backed up by JRF research in low-income neighbourhoods in Manchester. This is in one of the UK’s biggest and best city regions.

Better Buses campaign for GM Poverty Action

Taking the campaign on to the buses

People from the poorest fifth of households catch nearly 10 times as many buses as trains. For lots of us, without a bus we’re stuck. Across Greater Manchester, many reported that cars and trains are simply out the question in terms of price. However, with buses their last option, they highlighted how expensive fares and unreliable services prevent them from taking up positions, and how the un-joined network can mean commutes of over three hours a day (over Jobcentre Plus’ limit for reasonable travel).

Our bus network is not serving us. Instead people are being locked out of opportunities for work. With re-regulation, or franchising as it’s known, a fully integrated and planned network across GM’s 10 local authorities could connect us to our work places, our loved ones and the services we need at affordable fares, as we see in London.

What does this mean? Re-regulation means companies are told by local authorities what services to run, when, and how to set the fares. It also means local authorities can:

  • Plan and expand the network – Profits from busy routes could subsidise less busy but needed services. Right  now, bus companies cherry pick only profitable routes and make a killing, but local authorities could use profits to give everyone a better service.
  • Make buses affordable – Income could be used to lower fares, which have increased 55% above inflation in the last ten years.
  • Make buses reliable – Bus companies would have to share data – meaning buses don’t disappear from the time table or app.
  • Make buses frequent – Income could also be used to provide evening and weekend services, like we had before.

This would transform buses for a lot of us. Re-regulating in GM would set a precedent across the UK for a bus network that serves people, not profit. We’ve launched a petition calling for re-regulation and it already has over 5,000 signatures, but we want twice as many so please sign and share the petition to join the call for better buses.

Right now, we have a postcode lottery and a poverty premium, with richer areas often getting the better routes and cheaper fares, at least during commuter hours. Public money is used wherever possible, to plug gaps where there is need, however this is an inefficient use of public money. Better Buses for Greater Manchester found that on average £18 million a year is going to shareholder pay outs in the North West region.

Pascale Robinson Better Buses campagin for GM Poverty Action

Pascale Robinson

Re-regulating our bus network would mean that Greater Manchester could have publicly controlled buses which connect communities to where they need to be.

Join the campaign by signing the petition now: www.betterbusesgm.org.uk

We’d also love to hear from you. We need organisations, businesses and groups to pledge their support for the campaign. Whether you can offer your logo to show support, as GMPA have, or your time, or both, we need as many people speaking out for better buses as possible.

To find out more about the campaign, please say hello at Pascale@betterbusesgm.org.uk

 

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Hidden young people

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New research explores why young unemployed people are turning their backs on the benefit system
by Dr Katy Jones, University of Salford

There is growing concern about so-called ‘hidden young people’ – those young people who are neither in employment, education or training, nor claiming the benefits they are entitled to. There are approximately 21,890 hidden young people in Greater Manchester. Recognising the issue, Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), in its strategy ‘Our People, Our Place’, commits to ‘ensuring that fewer young people are ‘hidden’ from the essential support and services they need’. However, the evidence base relating to this group is incredibly limited – this is the case both locally and nationally.

In response to this, and as part of the Salford Anti-Poverty Taskforce, Salford City Council commissioned researchers at the University of Salford to undertake a qualitative study exploring the experiences of ‘hidden young people’. From interviews with 14 young people with experience of being both ‘not in employment, education or training’ and ‘Hidden’, and a series of focus groups involving 25 stakeholders from across the city, this research has uncovered some of the stories behind the statistics – and a range of reasons why many young people are shunning the benefits system.

The research shows that a lack of knowledge about benefit entitlements is widespread. As one young woman explained:

            “I didn’t know that I could claim… until I was told by the people from [accommodation provider]… If not, I
wouldn’t have known. You hardly hear it from anywhere, these things.”

Others are deterred by the ‘stigma’ associated with the Jobcentre. In the words of one young person:

            “Like if someone said to me, ‘Where do you get your money from?’ I think I’d be a bit embarrassed to tell
them.”

However for others, an increasingly ‘conditional’ welfare system, combined with poor experiences of the Jobcentre, made them reluctant to engage with the benefits system. As one stakeholder explained:

            “Why would you continue to engage with a system that treats you so overtly badly and has all the power in
that situation? You would just withdraw from it.”

Negative perceptions of Jobcentre Plus services were widespread amongst both young people and practitioners involved in the research.

Whether or not young people need or want to claim benefits, not engaging with the social security system excludes them from mainstream support and service provision – as most youth unemployment interventions are routed through the Jobcentre and related contracted providers.

Katy Jones Hidden young people article for GM Poverty Action

Dr Katy Jones

The report makes a series of recommendations for policy and practice, some of which apply at a Greater Manchester level – namely – that the GMCA should continue to monitor the issue, updating and measuring progress in meeting its strategic commitment against the estimated number of hidden young people in the sub-region (currently 21,890). Furthermore, in line with its commitment in the Greater Manchester strategy, we call on the GMCA to outline the steps it is taking to ensure effective support is provided to all hidden young people across Greater Manchester.

The report was launched at the University of Salford on 31st October, with a presentation from lead author Dr Katy Jones, followed by a response from Salford City Mayor Paul Dennett, and representatives from Salford City Council, Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the Greater Manchester Talent Match Youth Panel. A copy of the report can be accessed here.

 

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Enabling Homes

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Article by Katie Wightman of Enabling Homes

Enabling Homes logo for GM Poverty Action articleEveryone has a basic human right to a safe, secure and stable home environment, yet the UK government has failed to ensure the right to adequate housing. With an acute shortage of housing, particularly social and affordable housing, lack of housing security, overcrowding, evictions and homelessness, Enabling Homes is attempting to offer a solution to the current housing crisis, particularly for those in need of special care, support, or protection because of age, disability, or risk of abuse or neglect i.e. those individuals who are ‘vulnerable’.

When it comes to vulnerable individuals and their families, one of the biggest challenges will likely be the ability to access quality accommodation, accommodation which is fit for purpose and ideal for vulnerable clients.

Enabling Homes brings specialist Housing Associations, Government Funding and Care Providers together coordinating these programmes so that Charities or voluntary organisations supporting vulnerable client groups can have immediate access to these places to live, enabling Service Users to get the home they deserve and Care Providers to get under way with their contracts.  This is usually at no cost to the Care Provider at all.

In December 2015 Enabling Homes was founded with the main objective of purchasing suitable living accommodation within community settings for vulnerable adults within the care sector. Most of those individuals we have sourced housing for require support with issues such as mental health issues, learning difficulties, substance misuse, domestic violence, homelessness and daily living independence skills. We are based in the North West of England, but we have acquired properties in the North East and Midlands as well as parts of Wales.

Enabling Homes has developed good working relationships with various charitable housing associations as well as care providers throughout the UK and listens to the needs and requirements of each service. We will research and purchase buildings to create a suitable living environment. Generally, the buildings purchased are developed into self-contained apartments, normally somewhere in the region of 8 – 18 flats, however this can vary dependent on the requirements of the service. Previously we have renovated old unused buildings, such as churches, pubs, shops, old flats and even produced some new builds, to create a high standard of living accommodation that a resident can be proud of, and ultimately benefit from.

We are taking this opportunity to reach out to you as we are passionate about obtaining and developing properties for all individuals who may require some level of support. We are confident, and would be extremely proud, to work with care providers to purchase suitable accommodation for your service. We are more than happy to work alongside any existing partnerships you may have, however we can use our network of charitable housing
associations and/or care providers if needed.

Could you take some time to discuss with us the potential opportunities we could provide? We are happy to present our portfolio and explain in more detail what we can offer. The charitable housing association will be able to provide tenancy support and all apartments provided come fully furnished to a high standard.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, if you wish to contact us to discuss any of the information contained within this article, please do not hesitate to contact us by email For more information please visit our website

 

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Social Investment Fund

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Trafford Housing Trust invests £1m to tackle poverty

Trafford Housing Trust has just celebrated the first year of their new Social Investment Fund (SIF) which aims to reduce poverty and inequality in the borough. The Trust’s Social Investment Team and Board were joined by a range of colleagues, stakeholders and some of the organisations who’ve received support from the team.

Held at the Trust’s flagship health and wellbeing hub – Limelight, the event was a chance to recognise the people who dedicate their time and effort to help others and marked the achievements of the first year of the Social Investment Fund and looked to the work ahead.

Chair of the Social Investment Board – Steve Hughes, talked through aims of the SIF which are based on a ‘5-step plan’ produced by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation study – ‘We can solve poverty in the UK’. By offering a mix of micro, mid-sized and large grants and capacity building support the SIF aims to support existing organisations and new projects in Trafford to:

  • Strengthen families and communities
  • Boost incomes and reduce costs
  • Improve education standards and raise skills
  • Promote long-term economic growth benefitting everyone.

Since its launch in September 2017, the SIF has awarded 109 grants totalling £1,101,836 (estimated to benefit over 90,000 people) and capacity building support to local groups such as:

  • The Golden Centre of Opportunities who work with the Somali Community providing employment and skills support. You can find out how this vital support has helped them in this video
  • The Cyril Flint Befriending Service who provide support and companionship for people living on their own which you can see in this moving video

The day highlighted how well the Social Investment Team are thought of by the people they support which is apparent from the great feedback received on the day:

“Huge thanks to you and all the team. Wish all funders understood ‘life on the ground’ as well as you do.”

“We had a great evening, it was lovely to speak to people and chat about what we do.  The evening was very inspiring and I think what you are all doing is amazing.”

“Really impressed with the work that THT are doing in Trafford. It would be great to share your good practise across GM.”

Trafford Housing Trust article for GM Poverty Action

Trafford Housing Trust’s Social Investment Team with Chair of the Social Investment Board – Steve Hughes

Manager of the Social Investment Team – Tom Wilde says: “It was fantastic to have so many people join us to celebrate one year of the Social Investment Service.  We have committed over £1m in grant funding since launching 12 months ago, supporting over 100 projects which provide a range of much needed services for people across Trafford, including THT’s customers.  We also have a strong pipeline of projects coming through, and expect to be investing even more than this next year! The success of the event and the feedback we have already received is a credit to the whole team and the excellent work they do.

If you know anyone who may be able to help reduce poverty and inequality in Trafford point them in the direction of the social investment website

You can follow the work of the team, and the organisations they support, on social media on Facebook or Twitter

 

 

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